TUCSON, Ariz. -- About 10 miles from Arizona Stadium is the Pima Air & Space Museum, which houses an SR-71 Blackbird.
The SR-71 was able to exceed Mach 3, making it a sleek modern marvel of speed and execution.
The Arizona offense emulated it Saturday night.
The Wildcats scored 31 first-half points on their way to blasting the Washington Huskies, 52-17, on a warm and clear Saturday night in Tucson.
Washington has lost three in a row and six consecutive on the road.
Quarterback Keith Price turned the ball over three more times Saturday – two interceptions and a fumble – giving him a troubling 10 turnovers in those three losses.
And, now, his coach is worried that Price is not trusting him. Price and Steve Sarkisian had a long talk at the end of the third quarter.
“I just want him to believe me,” Sarkisian said. “I want him to take the information and the things I’m giving him and trust me that what I’m telling him is the truth and believe in what I am asking of him to do, and go out and do his best to try to do that and, if it doesn’t work, like I told him, I’ll be the first one to say, ‘Keith, I was wrong.’ But we can’t get to that point if there’s some doubt there.”
Asked what was getting in the way of the trust, Sarkisian said he’s not sure.
“That’s what I’m going to be thinking about here for the next four hours (on the flight home),” Sarkisian said.
Washington has fallen behind early in the recent run of losses. That trend continued Saturday night. After a brief 3-0 lead with 9:49 to go in the first quarter, Washington was outscored 52-14 the rest of the way and trailed 31-17 at the half.
The embarrassments were multiple. Arizona quarterback Matt Scott completed a 53-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hill with 94 seconds to play in the first half to put Arizona in front 31-10. It was Arizona’s longest completion of the season.
But Washington fought back. Josh Shirley hit Scott as he threw and a pass was intercepted by Travis Feeney, who returned it to the Arizona 3. Bishop Sankey scored on a 1-yard run to make it 31-17 with 13 seconds remaining in the half.
The Huskies then recovered Ka’Deem Carey’s fumble on the first play of the second half, but Price fumbled on the next play and Arizona recovered, leading to a touchdown and a 38-17 lead.
Richard Morrison returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown with 9:35 to play in the third quarter to put Arizona in front 45-17. It was Arizona’s first punt return for a touchdown since 2009.
The Wildcats’ first punt of the night came with 2:55 remaining in the third quarter with a 45-17 lead. They lined up for a punt in the first half on fourth-and-1, but Washington jumped offside to give the Wildcats a first down.
Price turned the ball over for the second time when he threw an interception early in the second quarter that was returned 43 yards by Tra’Mayne Boudrant to set up an eventual 1-yard score for Scott. Scott’s keeper put Arizona up 17-3 with 8:19 remaining in the second quarter, the third consecutive game Washington trailed by double digits in the first half.
Arizona steamed down the field on its first possession. After starting at its own 25-yard line, freshman receiver David Richards was celebrating a 27-yard touchdown reception just 1:55 later.
Price was 6-for-10 on Washington’s opening drive that finished with a 43-yard field goal from Travis Coons. Washington converted a fourth-and-3 from Arizona’s 33 to keep the drive going. But, Price missed an open Kasen Williams in the end zone, leading to a field-goal attempt.
Price’s 29 completions and 52 attempts were both career-highs. He’s been sacked 21 times this season after being sacked 26 times last season.
Arizona tacked on a 24-yard field goal from John Bonano with 6 seconds to go in the first quarter to go up 10-3. Washington had Arizona in a bad spot, third-and-15 at its own 35-yard line, when Scott lofted a 43-yard completion to Dan Buckner. Feeney was called for roughing Scott on the same play, a penalty that vaulted Arizona all the way to Washington’s 11.
But UW held Arizona to a field goal after linebacker John Timu almost intercepted a pass on the goal line.
Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught eight passes for a career-high 110 yards and a 6-yard touchdown.
“We had plenty of chances, that’s for sure,” Sarkisian said. “We’re just not making them right now. I think at some point, we have to understand that when you’re in one-on-one settings, you have to have confidence in yourself that you can win one one-on-one battles. (I) envisioned a much different outcome, that’s for sure.”firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas